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San Diego Drops Red-Light Cameras 330

gannebraemorr writes "U-T San Diego reports that the city has become 'the latest in a cadre of California cities turning their backs on red-light cameras — aloof intersection sentries that have prompted $490 tickets to be mailed to 20,000 motorists per year' there. 'Mayor Bob Filner announced his decision to take down the city's 21 cameras at a news conference set at the most prolific intersection for the tickets, North Harbor Drive and West Grape Street, near San Diego International Airport. A crew went to work immediately taking down "photo enforced" signs throughout the city. "Seems to me that such a program can only be justified if there are demonstrable facts that prove that they raise the safety awareness and decrease accidents in our city," Filner said of the cameras. "The data, in fact, does not really prove it."' I have to say I'm a bit surprised that my city is voluntarily shedding potentially $9.8M in revenue after objectively evaluating a program. I wonder how much a system would cost that could switch my light from green to red if it detected a vehicle approaching from a red-lit direction at dangerous speeds. Can you think of an other alternative uses for these cameras?"
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San Diego Drops Red-Light Cameras

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  • Re:Hmmmmm..... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AK Marc ( 707885 ) on Saturday February 02, 2013 @05:34PM (#42773467)

    Yes. In a lot of cities, people just kind of sneak through on a red if they are close enough to the car in front of them that is already going through the intersection (if there's less than 4 feet between you and the car in front of you, then it's ok). I confess I have done that when I know I will be stuck at a red light for a long time. If there's a camera, I'm extra careful. I don't think that's the kind of red-light-running that would cause accidents, though.

    You figured it out in your last sentence. What's the point? To discourage running reds, or to decrease crashes? Red light cameras don't decrease crashes. What happens when the guy 4 feet in front speeds up at the yellow, and you follow, then he slams the brakes because he changes his mind because of the camera? Oh yeah, more crashes. And the worst crashes are when someone is more than a second after the red. The tickets go out to people like you describe at 0.5s after the red. But it's those seconds late (drunk, asleep, reading the morning paper) that kill, and they don't see the red light, they won't see the camera.

  • Re:So Floor It ! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by DarwinSurvivor ( 1752106 ) on Saturday February 02, 2013 @05:42PM (#42773511)
    I flash my lights instead. This gives a VERY visible signal to anyone coming the other way and most people will clue in and return the signal. I also make sure that I take the corner slow enough that I can stop if someone does appear doing the speed limit. I still flash the lights in case the other guy is going faster than the speed limit.
  • Re:Hmmmmm..... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 02, 2013 @05:50PM (#42773563)

    Rolling stops are against the law so none of those tickets are bullshit.

    Right, the law isn't designed for public safety. It is designed simply to be obeyed. And if it isn't obeyed, the government can hit you with any penalty they damn well please, including a $500 fine (+$200 if you contest it and another $200 if you request a jury). And if you download JSTOR files, you can get a $1 million fine and 50 years in jail. After all, it is the law and you must OBEY.

  • Re:Hmmmmm..... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Tridus ( 79566 ) on Saturday February 02, 2013 @05:57PM (#42773627) Homepage

    Unlocking your phone is also against the law, maybe we need a trillion dollar fine to discourage it?

  • by jonbryce ( 703250 ) on Saturday February 02, 2013 @06:45PM (#42773887) Homepage

    Law enforcement should not be a profit centre. If you give people a financial incentive to find people guilty, then they will focus on trying to find people guilty rather than to stop the harm that the law was supposed to prevent.

  • by symbolset ( 646467 ) * on Saturday February 02, 2013 @07:29PM (#42774151) Journal

    Obviously they weren't getting the revenue to make it pay off. Courts are not free. No doubt city workers were tired of it too.

    Safety does not even enter into it.

  • Re:Or... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by networkzombie ( 921324 ) on Saturday February 02, 2013 @07:35PM (#42774221)

    most civil engineers aren't dumb

    I call bullshit

    Lights would be far more efficient if they would simply put the detectors further from the lights so they determine how many cars are approaching from all directions. Currently the detectors are right next to the lights. All over my town (SoCal) I watch vehicles traveling in waves, and each wave gets a red light because a single vehicle beat the wave to the detector. It appears to be the most inefficient way to allow cross traffic for a modern society with computing capabilities. It looks like the same algorithm used in the seventies and only slightly more efficient as a light on a timer.

Nothing makes a person more productive than the last minute.